No one gets on the road thinking about getting into a traffic accident, but the possibility is mostly always there. If you are wondering, “What should I do at the scene of a car accident?” here are some tips on how to go about handling yourself and others and what to do and not do at the accident scene.
Before an accident happens, your vehicle should have proper insurance coverage. You should have the required insurance documents in your car and your license and registration available. Some people also keep the names and contact info of family doctors in their vehicles in case of an accident.
You should also have certain items in your car if you are ever involved in an emergency car accident. Items like flares for the road, emergency signs, and more can help in an accident.
Check Your Physical Condition
When the accident happens, you will likely remember hearing brakes screeching and then the sounds of metal crashing and colliding. There may be broken glass and possibly fires. It is important to assess yourself for any injuries immediately after a car accident. The first thing you should do is a quick check on your physical condition.
- Are you alert?
- Are you whole? Do you have any broken bones?
- Are you bleeding?
Check Your Passengers’ Conditions
If you have passengers in the car with you, they might have suffered injuries, so check their condition, too. Ask if the others need an ambulance and medical assistance. If there are any people gathering at the accident, try to call out to someone to call 911 or police to come to the scene.
Report the Accident
It is important that you or someone else reports the accident. The 911 dispatch team will request your location and send out a police car as soon as possible. Then, if you can, get out of the car and assess the accident scene. Are the people in the other vehicles alive? Is anyone unconscious?
If you know that it is a serious car accident, then try to unhook your seatbelt and get out of the car before any explosions or fires go off.
Do Not Admit Fault
As the other drivers come out of their cars to assess damage in the accident, there could be angry drivers shouting at one another as to where the fault lies for the crash. No matter how aggressive these drivers may be, do not admit to any wrongdoing in the accident. Do not admit to any of your own fault with the other drivers, or even the police when they interview each driver.
Even if you were seemingly the negligent one in the crash, do not admit fault to any of the others. Wait for the police to arrive to do their investigation and questioning. Other evidence may turn up later about the conditions or past driving records of the other drivers, so it is important that you stick to the facts of the accident if you are asked.
Take Pictures and Video
When you can, walk around the scene and take pictures and videos of the scene with your cellphone or another device if you have it. Show the streets involved, the direction of the cars, any speed limit signs, any defective traffic lights, and other items that could be of interest later in a personal injury case. You should file these tips in your “What should I do at the scene of a car accident?” mental file cabinet.
Do Not Move the Cars
It is best not to move cars at the scene of the accident until the police arrive to assess the situation. They could see how the accident may have occurred if the cars involved in the accident are still in the original position.
If the cars cannot be moved due to extreme damage, make sure to light flares and turn on emergency hazards to alert oncoming drivers of the accident. If heavy traffic is behind the accident, try to move at least one car to allow some traffic to flow through. It will help not to have 50 cars bearing down and waiting to get by. Plus, it will help the police or emergency vehicles to get to those involved more quickly.
Exchange Driver Information
Lastly, after the police have done their report, you will have to exchange contact information with the other drivers. This information could include driver’s license numbers, VIN, plus the name, email, address, phone, and insurance card info for each driver.
We also recommend that you call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to explore your legal options if you are interested in pursuing a case for personal injuries and damages from the accident. Contact us today at (800) 223-5115 to schedule a free consultation.